If you say you will revert to an email, are you replying to the email or turning back into the form of an email?

In standard English, revert means to “return to a previous state”

—although the usage of revert has since taken on the meaning of to reply, “its usage in that manner is largely limited to South Asia and South East Asia”, and is predominantly used in corporate contexts.

Read more about how the knowledge of the meaning of words affects our students and what we can do to help them!

When we say we know a word, we probably often mean that we know its meaning. However, there is more to a word than its definition.  Being aware of its various other aspects can help our students become better at applying their vocabulary knowledge to reading comprehension and writing.  In this article, we will take a look at the different aspects of what it means to know a word.

The first example is dedicated to the importance of a word’s definition.

Let’s take a look at the following words:

Is a wizened man wise or old?

If you are mortified, are you terrified or embarrassed

These words are sometimes used inaccurately.  They may also look similar to other words

hence, students may misinterpret the meaning.  In standard English, wizened means old, and mortified means to be embarrassed.

For students, using a word incorrectly would result in the weakening of an argument in their writing, or they may have an inaccurate understanding of a comprehension passage, which then leads to the wrong answer.  It is thus important that they know what a word means and not assume its meaning.

A quick and easy way to check the definition of words is to search in Google,
“<word> meaning”.

For a more detailed explanation with examples, we recommend using Collins DictionaryWith most students having access to smartphones or their PLDs (portable learning devices), we should encourage them to be more active in finding out the meanings of unfamiliar words. 

However, the learning should not stop there. If students only check the word once, they may soon forget the meaning without any repeated exposure or application to concretise the word in their mind.  What can students do in this case? 

They can keep an online vocabulary log of words they come across, including the meaning, a pictorial reference, and example sentences.  In some of my classes, I get my students to work together on a vocabulary log on Padlet

There are probably many other options available, so do find which one suits you or your child best!  

Here is a simple example that students can follow. They can then periodically refer to their own vocabulary log to refresh their memory, and also make efforts to use these words in their writing.




For more information on the iReaCH programme and how it can help your child, visit our website at: www.das.org.sg/services/programmes/ireach.html


The primary aim of iReaCH™ is to support learners in Reading Comprehension and Writing through the deliberate use of vocabulary instruction and educational technology, allowing them to better manage these higher order tasks expected of them in school.